This weekend the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns to action after a five-week break for the fourth round of the 2014 season at the picturesque Oulton Park circuit and MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save Team drivers Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff arrive refreshed and confident of a good weekend.
Undeniably Jason has an enviable record at the challenging Cheshire track on both the Island and International layouts, the latter of which will be used this weekend for the first time over a decade. In 48 starts at Oulton Park, Jason has finished on the podium 21 times, nine of those seeing the double touring car champion on the top step. A look more closely and the past three seasons and his results consist of three wins, two second places and a third.
“It’s definitely a circuit I enjoy,” said Jason. “At other events this year we’ve been quick and Oulton Park should produce some great results. We expect to be the benchmark. At Thruxton our performance was as expected but with a tad of bad luck, so it’s great timing to be heading back to Oulton Park where I can hopefully add to my nine wins; I’m feeling rather greedy.”
After having his third race at Thruxton brought to an end thanks to a wayward rival before completing a lap, Jason is looking forward to getting into the mix of the championship battle again. Currently fifth in the standings, Jason knows what he has to do this weekend.
“Without doubt we’re going to Oulton to win,” said the record holder for the most overall race wins in the BTCC. “Some drivers haven’t raced on the International circuit, and we definitely hold an advantage." Over the past two seasons of his racing career, Sam has secured three podiums from four starts at the Cheshire track. “It’s a circuit I like a lot. We know that Thruxton doesn’t suit our car very well, but Oulton is the opposite. Historically the MG goes well at Oulton Park and the fact we’re on the longer layout should play into our hands further. The extra part of the track that we now race on will bring added complexities for some of the guys out there and it should make things interesting. It looks like rain may feature too, so we’re just going to have to adapt to what is presented to us.”
And, after a solid start to his 2014 season the Yorkshireman, who has just completed his accountancy exams, sits eighth in the standings, 66 off leader and reigning champion, Andrew Jordan. “I said at the start of the year, we just need to keep getting the car home and scoring points, that’s what we’ve done. At Oulton I expect to be challenging for wins and leaving Cheshire in a stronger position. I’m really looking forward to the weekend after the long break and can’t wait to get back into the car.”
A full house is expected at the Oulton weekend many of whom with gather at the Knickerbrook section of the circuit. Around 40,000 fans attended the 2013 meeting, but with the added bonus of the Super Touring cars from the 1990s present for a one-off star turn, a higher turn out is expected.
Currently the Triple Eight-run MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save Team is sat third in the Teams standings on 179 points, sixty off leaders Honda Yuasa Racing. Constructors standings see MG just 40 points adrift of Honda, with two-thirds of the season remaining.
Three BTCC races will take place on Sunday at 12:17, 14:29, 16:57 and with the entire race day being broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4. Follow Triple Eight on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend: http://bit.ly/1orebJa
2014 BTCC driver standings (after round 9 of 30)
1 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 141
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 133
3 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) 123
4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 110
5 Jason Plato (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 106
8 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 75
2014 BTCC Manufacturers Championship
1 Honda/Dynamics 306
2 MG/Triple Eight 266
2014 BTCC Teams' Championship
1 Honda Yuasa Racing 239
2 eBay Motors 208
3 MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save 179